Six years after beating the son of Democratic Rep. Joe Baca for a seat in the California Senate, Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod edged Baca himself for a seat in the U.S. House. Baca had a history of turmoil with his female House colleagues, who accused him of making sexist remarks, and it was perhaps no surprise he was ultimately unseated by a woman.
Negrete McLeod was born in Los Angeles and later moved to Chino. She attended Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, earning an associate's degree, and later served on the community college's board. She was elected to the state Assembly in 2000, moving six years later to the state Senate after handily beating Joe Baca Jr. in the Democratic primary.
As a chair of the Senate's Public Employment and Retirement Committee, Negrete McLeod was active in efforts to bar county workers from applying their unused sick leave and vacation time to bolster their retirement benefits. She also sponsored legislation giving minor offenders work-release credit for completing education, vocational, and drug-treatment programs, and she pressed for domestic partners to receive the same benefits as married spouses.
Redistricting after the 2010 census presented Baca with a dilemma: He could run for reelection in the 31st District, a swing district that includes about 39 percent of his current territory, or he could run in the much safer Democratic 35th District, which includes the other 61 percent of his territory and where 52 percent of voting-age citizens are Latino. He chose the 35th, apparently figuring that the state's new all-primary, top-two runoff system would give Republican voters a chance to vote for the more conservative Democrat against a more liberal candidate.